Last night I happened upon a program on PBS after Bill Moyer which featured a chorus of “Old Geezers” calling themselves the “ Young at Heart Chorus”. The members of this chorus began from an Old People’s Rest Home from somewhere in Massachusetts back in the 1980’s and have become famous and sought after entertainment all over the world. In this program, all members were over 80 years old. One lady who began the program was 91. You want to know what they sing?Elevator music? Old folk songs? Opera? Nope, they sang famous rock and roll songs with a lively kick and beat. Beatle songs, Jim Croce songs, and of course “May you always be young at heart.” And they were good. If one came to hear them expecting weak and wavering voices, they were greeted with whoops and a marvelous rendition of intricate passages of these old famous favorite songs.
The program followed them along a year of rehearsal until the final concert on stage with the huge auditorium filled with old and young—all delighted at what they saw and heard. Most all of it were fun songs but there was one was sad one. This gentleman had promised this one man who had a lead part in one song to sing it for him if he died as he was in his fourth bout of chemo. He did die and this man—very obese with a breathing tube attached to his nose and hardly able to walk to the chair sat and sang a lovely song in his memory with such emotion and such a beautiful bass voice ending with “I will fix you” The audience stood up and gave him such an ovation crying right along with him.
The interviews with various members in between were revealing. All thought singing kept them alive longer than many of them were expected to. Several had had last rites and they joked about not seeing the white light. Their main purpose in life had become getting to the rehearsals and the joy they experienced when the audience loved them. They loved to perform.
My message here is not only to tell you about this wonderful chorus, but to emphasize their message which is to live each day and have a purpose to live for up until the very end. Be active and engaged in life. Don't just wait to die. For me, it was a very powerful message, but I think it should be for all no matter how old. It is a good lesson.
If you want to learn more about this group, google Young at Heart Chorus.